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Local hospitals prepared for mass casualty events | News

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Local hospitals prepared for mass casualty events
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ALBANY - Like the hospital in Aurora, medical facilities in the Capital Region are also trained to handle such mass casualties. It's something they prepare for on a regular basis.   

When something like this happens it really makes you think about your own safety and the safety of the people you love. Likewise, it has police and hospitals scrutinizing their own emergency response plans in the wake of the movie theater mass shooting.

NewsChannel 13 checked in with Albany Medical Center, the area's regional trauma center this afternoon.  The hospital's director of emergency management tells us they hold mass casualty drills with hospital staff, managers and their emergency incident response team every two months.

That's on top of monthly meetings with all the hospitals in Albany and Rensselaer County.  There are certain events or disasters that are more likely to impact this area than others - so there's extra training for things like huge floods and big fires.

The hospital also has a specific mass casualty plan which includes how to treat and decontaminate people exposed to dangerous chemicals - like we saw with the victims of the overnight shooting in Colorado.

You can only plan for so much - and the idea is to be prepared for whatever may come through the emergency room doors.

Albany Med also helps coordinate larger scale community exercises with local fire and police departments a few times a year. The tragedy in Colorado is as unnerving for civilians as it is for authorities but Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple echoes what Albany Med says in that they train for this sort of situation all the time.

“We train routinely out of Crossgates Mall. We actually use the old movie theatre for training and it also gets us in and out of the mall. The mall likes the presence of the police officers...we train a lot with Guilderland police. We also have multi-jurisdictional swat team training for just these types of situations,” said Apple.

Part of that preparation involves active shooter training which officers go through every year.

Both the hospital and sheriff's department assure us they are constantly updating their emergency plans.

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